Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Toronto vs. Pueblo. Flagship Library, please.

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Yesterday I returned from a week in Colorado, where I presented Zorgamazoo to the schools of Pueblo. Something that struck me about the city -- a relatively small one, with a population just over 100,000 -- was the rather stunning main branch of the library system.

Here in Toronto -- home of the most active library system in North America -- even our largest branches would pale beside the Robert Hoag Rawlings Library in little old Pueblo, at least in terms of architectural grandeur and nuance.

Pueblo is a steel town, so as with a lot good architecture, the local flavour is reflected in the coolest buildings. The Rawlings branch has huge, distressed steel facades and a consciously industrial exterior. Inside, however, it's welcoming, well-designed, and full of sunlight (Pueblo was recently rated as Colorado's best spot for developing solar energy).

It also sports a glass elevator with exterior views, a private woodworking shop for building its own custom-made display cases and -- get this -- an animatronic newsie who'll tell you bits of local history at the press of a button!

So while there's no denying Toronto's library system is pretty amazing and definitely robust, it's not like the design of any particular branch fills me with much awe. Bit of a pity, that.

PS: If anyone feels like dissenting and knows of a TPL branch that kicks butt -- architecturally, that is -- please let me know. I'll be very happy to check it out.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Robert Paul Weston

Robert Paul Weston's fiction has appeared in magazines on both sides of the Atlantic and been nominated for The Journey Prize in Canada and The Fountain Award for Speculative Literature in the United States. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and lives in Toronto.

His website is

Go to Robert Paul Weston’s Author Page